How to stake gladiolus?

The gladiola flowers have been putting on quite a show this year. Pink, white, red, greenish-yellow, and purple gladiolus have graced my garden. I really like gladiolas but whenever there is a heavy rain or higher-than-usual winds, the glads dip over or break off.

Pink gladiolus Purple gladiolus Green-yellow gladiolus White gladiolus

How to Keep Your Gladiolus From Falling Over

Option 1: Plant your Gladiolus bulbs in a grouping, against a garden structure

If you have a lot of gladiolus bulbs, plant them together rather tightly up against a structure like a fence, trellis, or even an art piece in your garden that can act as a support. When you plant them in a cluster, you can tie them all off to the same structure, making it less time consumptive to stake them with a support.

If you plant your bulbs in a more clustered formation (2 to 3 inches apart rather than the recommended spacing), your plants will require more nutrients and water to thrive than when planted with normal spacing. You may need to fertilize and water them slightly more often to keep them healthy.

How to tie up your flowers

If you use fishing line to tie up your gladiola flowers, it won’t be visible to most passersby. You can also use garden twine (which is often green or brown) or jute. We don’t use a fluorescent or other brightly colored string or twine because it will really stick out and draw attention away from your garden.

Tie up the gladiola flowers closer to the top of the buds, probably right in the middle of the flower buds. My Gladiolus always seem to break right at the base of the buds. The top just gets too heavy for the stem to support it. The benefit of grouping all of your Gladiolus bulbs together and then having a back support to tie them to is that the group of flowers will help support one another, reducing the need for multiple tie-ups.

Flower Stem Stakes

Option 2: Get single flower supports or stakes for your Gladiolus flowers

My Gladiolus bulbs are scattered throughout two of my flowerbeds, making using a single support system for multiple flowers impossible. Instead, I have individual stem supports (flower stakes) that I move around my garden as each bud gets ready to bloom. Luckily, the flowers don’t all open at the same time, so I can spread out the use of my 6 flower stakes in the garden.

My single stem supports are about 48” inches tall with three circular sections that I thread the plant through for extra support. They are made of a green polyethylene-coated steel. Their coloration helps them to blend in to my garden, making them nearly invisible. I purchased my stem supports from Gardener’s Supply in 2012 and I am still using the original stakes.

These Gladiolus stakes have a little flexibility in them, so pushing them deep into the soil is a must. This gives them better stability. In a couple of cases, the flowers grew too tall for the supports, but most of the time, the 48″ height of the supports is adequate.

Purchase Single Stem Supports

Store Bought Flower Stakes vs. Home-Made Flower Stakes

The benefit of these polyethylene-coated steel stakes versus homemade wooden or metal ones is that they are very thin, making pushing them into the soil very easy and giving me plenty of space to make sure I don’t strike the bulb or other adjacent plants.

Stem supports

My homemade stakes are usually made of rebar or scrap pieces of wood. These are always much thicker than the purchased stem supports and require careful placement and installation in my garden. They usually have to be pushed into the ground with a hammer as well.

Since my gladiola flowers aren’t planted near one another, I have to move each support from one plant that has completed blooming to the next one that is budding. Moving my steel flower supports is very simple as they are easy to pull up and then push back into the soil. A thicker support made of rebar or wood would require a little more effort.

Another benefit of my stem supports from Gardener’s Supply is that I can take them out and store them for use the following year. Because they are coated in polyethylene, they last a long time and due to their size, they don’t take up a lot of storage space.

Purchase Adjustable Z-Ring Stem Supports

A little planning goes a long way with Gladiolus flowers

Don’t give up on planting and enjoying Gladiolus flowers just because they have a tendency to break or bend. Plan your garden so that you can stake the stems or group them all together for better support. You’ll be so glad you did when the blooming starts!

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Creative Staking for Gladiolus, Dahlias and Iris

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Stately and beautiful describes flowering gladiolus, dahlias and iris. As long as they are upright and standing that is. Give them a lift this season with creative staking.

Keep glads looking their best with a small piece of lattice and metal or wood supports. Place the lattice parallel to the ground on short stakes anchored in the ground. Paint the lattice for added color or to help blend the structure into the surrounding plantings. Allow the glads to grow through the holes and wait for the flowers and visiting hummingbirds to appear.

Use bamboo stakes to help keep your dahlias and iris upright. Carefully place the stake next to the plant making sure to avoid the underground tuberous roots and rhizomes. Loosely tie the plant to the stake using twine. Make a figure eight looping the twine around the stake and the other loop around the plant stem. Add additional ties as the plants grow.

A bit more information: And get creative! Dig through undiscovered treasures in the garage, shed or basement. You might find the perfect decorative support. One gardener put an old slinky to work supporting some of her garden plants.

Q: My gladioli produce lovely green leaves but, when they bloom, they always fall over. Should I replant the bulbs deeper? — Eleanor Washburn, email

A: It’s a common complaint that gladiolus flower stems get so top heavy that they flop over onto the ground. Planting the corms 3 inches to 4 inches deep will help stabilize the stem but is not guaranteed to be a perfect solution. Most folks just stake the stems when they are 12 inches tall with pieces of thin bamboo. I sometimes use trimmed branches from privet for staking. You also can plant the glads along a fence so the stems can be loosely tied to the fence wire.

Q: Rose rosette disease has infected all my Knock Out roses. Now, I have to dig them up and replace them. I would not recommend these roses unless until the rosette disease has a cure. — Lawrence Cram, email

A: All roses are susceptible to rose rosette disease, not just Knock Out roses. The only treatment is to remove the entire plant. The incurable virus can even persist in root fragments left behind when you dig out a rose. If you’re careful about getting every one of the root pieces, you could leave the planting spot bare until October, while scouting weekly for errant sprouts appearing. If none come up, you can plant more roses in the same spot.

Q: I have been fighting iris rust for several years. Should all my iris plants be discarded and just start over? — Rita McElwaney, email

A: If the disease is not too far advanced, you can scissor off the affected leaves now and fertilize with water-soluble fertilizer to stimulate the plant to produce more leaves. Spray the new leaves with chlorothalonil (Daconil) fungicide to prevent rust from occurring again. Good sanitation is important, so be sure to remove all diseased leaf pieces as you prune.

Q: This spring I saw a local school making gardens with wheat straw. They put the straw in large wire containers, then added their plants. I bought some straw bales and made holes and put chicken manure and planting soil in them before I planted tomatoes. The plants did well for two weeks, then died. Any suggestions about planting technique? — George Carpenter, Marietta

A: The process of planting in straw bales requires that the bale be partially decomposed before you plant anything. If you simply put young plants into holes you make in fresh straw, I’d expect insufficient watering to be a big issue. The plant roots won’t get the water they need because water simply runs past their root ball to the bottom of the bale. The process of preparing a bale involves scattering fertilizer over it and watering several times to make a rich compost into which vegetables can be planted. I have details about the whole process at

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Gladiolus Are Falling Over – Learn About Staking Gladiolus Plants

Gladioli are extremely popular flowers grown for their lengthy profusion of colorful blooms that can last from summer through fall. Prolific bloomers that they are, you may find that the gladiolus plants are falling over due to the heaviness of the blossoms or during wind or rain storms. How do you hold up glads? Staking gladiolus plants will keep their brightly colored heads from dipping or breaking, and there are any number of items that can be used as gladiolus plant stakes.

How to Stake a Gladiolus

Native to South Africa, southern Europe and the Near East, these perennial favorites are grown from corms planted in the early spring. As mentioned, the weight of all these blooms, the sheer height of the plants – glads can grow as tall as 5 feet (1.5 m.) – and/or rainy or windy conditions may result in gladiolus that are falling over. So, how to hold up glads in the garden? Staking gladiolus plants is the obvious solution, but along with staking the plants, plant them in groupings.

Single plants can be hard to stake and look obvious. Grouping of glads are easier to stake and make for innovative solutions such as using a trellis to grow them through. Place a lattice supported by short stakes parallel to the ground over the area the corms are planted. Allow the gladiolus to grow through the lattice. Voila, creative staking.

Groupings of gladiolus can also be placed against a supportive structure such as a fence, trellis or even garden art. Use fishing line, jute or garden twine to tie the blooms to the support. Tie the flowers closer to the top of the buds, ideally in the middle of the flower buds. Grouping the glads together not only helps to hide the ties, but allows them to help support each other.

Of course, if you do not plant the gladiolus together but rather have them on their own, they can be tied in the same manner to a garden stake. Gladiolus plant stakes can be made of wood, bamboo or even a piece of metal rebar, whatever gets the job done.

Another easy way to support the gladiolus is individual stem flower supports. These make it super simple to support the heavy blooms without tying them up. They are made of coated metal that is curved just so to encase flower stems. In a pinch, I suppose even metal wire hangers could be straightened out and then bent to create a single blossom support. Strips of panty hose work well too.

While it is very likely that you will need to stake your gladiolus, how you do it and with what materials are limited only by your imagination and ingenuity.

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